Four ways to God


I suppose it’s like looking at old baby photos, but over the past month or so I’ve been browsing through some of the classic early articles in The Briefing. I chuckled over some of the ‘Lead Balloons’ we ran in those early days, like the article that proposed we should build deliberately crummy church buildings from now on, so that when the next generation needs to rebuild them or tear them down in 50 years’ time, there won’t be any loud objections from the heritage lobby about the destruction of our beautiful architecture.


A mighty balsa wood boat

Everyday Ministry

This article is an edited transcript of an address given at the 2014 Nexus conference in Sydney.


And when [Paul] had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20:36-38)


Is there a New Testament DNA for ministry?

Everyday Ministry

I am no geneticist, but I love the image of DNA. It is a beautiful creation of God, and I think quite a helpful metaphor for us in discussing what defines us and drives us as evangelicals. In this article, I want to explore the shape of our ‘DNA’ as people of the gospel and what can damage that DNA, and then suggest ways that we can strive to keep our DNA pure. (more…)

Off to the pub to pray


You’ve had this experience too, haven’t you? It’s a warm Sunday morning and you’ve managed to arrive at St Churchins early enough to be there for the start of the service. You’ve enjoyed seeing fellow Christians, and you got to sing something other than In Christ Alone. (Great song, but it’s had a nice decade-long run.) (more…)

The danger of a how-to

Pastoral Ministry

Several years ago a very dedicated church member pulled me aside. I could tell he had some important words for me, words that had been on his heart for quite some time. In a hushed, sober tone he said, “I’m concerned you’re being too hard on the Roman Catholics in your preaching and teaching. From time to time, you’ve specifically called-out Catholics as being wrong for this or that reason. But, frankly, when it comes right down to it, what Roman Catholics believe and what we believe is basically the same.” (more…)

Interview: Majoring on the majors

Everyday Ministry, Pastoral Ministry

God gives different gifts to different people. The important thing is not the gifts we’re given, but what we do with them. Being a godly man, Chappo always used his gifts for the gospel, and always for other people. (more…)

Chappo and the magic potion

Pastoral Ministry, Review

I’m not sure John Chapman would have approved of this article, on two counts. For a start, it speaks more positively of him than he would have been comfortable with; but more particularly, this article tries to do two things at once, a vice that Chappo decried in many a trainee preacher. (more…)

Making disciples by planting

Pastoral Ministry

Our task of making disciples is an urgent one. I want to look afresh at the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus to “make disciples of all nations” and its implications for church-planting today. (more…)

→ Avoiding evangelical civil war


Mark Thompson:

Here then are some suggestions for principles which might help us think through how we might ‘contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ in a way which builds genuine fellowship rather than destroys it.

It’s all excellent. For example,

Recognise that those who disagree with you on this particular theological point are people for whom Christ died. They are inestimably precious in his sight. They must not be regarded or treated as mere theological canon fodder. Even when you are convinced they are seriously in error they must be treated with respect and gentleness.

A good news story getting better

Pastoral Ministry

One of the good news stories for Christians is the ministry amongst university students, and this story is just about to get better still. For this area of effective ministry is about to see a significant increase, thanks to recent Government decisions.

Contrary to popular opinion, or that of their parents, university students are not the most important people in the world. Nor is ministry amongst them important because of some supposedly elite status—“the future leaders of industry, government and the professions”. The world may think like that, but it is not a gospel perspective. (more…)